Future human use and consumption. However, problems may
Future Implications of Advances in Medical Technology: From the Sociological Perspective.
The past decade has shown remarkable advances in medical science and research. Modern medical science has made a lot of breakthroughs in several fields. These novelties have led to better prognosis and treatment of diseases.
One other area where modern medicine has made tremendous progress is in genetic engineering. The human person as a living organism has also been impacted fundamentally by the science of genetic engineering.Areas where this has been most evident include: organ transplant, in-vitro fertilization, postmenopausal motherhood, stem cell research, frozen embryos and cloning. Some of these developments as daring as they are, have very profound implications for both the dignity of the human person and the future of his/her community. All these progresses in modern medicine had brought about daily ethical, moral, technical questions and the social consequences of the practice of these sorts of medicine are likely to be profound.It is important to highlight the fact that advancement in medical technology has saved many lives, especially in the area of organ transplantation. This procedure which was a challenge in the past is currently a relatively safe and routine procedure saving thousands of lives each year.
Modern scientific advancement has so much to offer, but they must be guided by ethical principles which respect the inherent dignity of every human being; science without the compass of ethical restraints is taking the world on a path towards dehumanization in the name of progress (O-Molly).Human cloning is a potential time bomb that will destroy humans and what mankind stands for. Future implications of cloning can be looked at as a double edged sword.
Cloning body parts can become a life saver, it can serve as a reserve in cases of organ failure and lack of potential donors. Cloning may further help in infertility and also make it possible to reproduce a certain desirable trait in human beings through the cloned embryo. It may also be a means to the end of malnutrition and animal extinction.
Animals will be replicated not only to serve as food and prevent extinction, but also to be used for research purposes.Cloned plants will be in abundance for human use and consumption. However, problems may result from programming errors in a genetic material from a donor cell leading to developmental abnormalities of cloned embryo. While factors such as intellect and mood may not be as important to a cow or a mouse, they are crucial for the development of a healthy human (cloning fact sheet). One would imagine a world filled with imbeciles and morons should human reproductive cloning be a reality. In addition, reproductive cloning may end up becoming the exercise that strips the human community of diversity, thereby instituting a monotonous world.People of the same gene may populate entire cities and nations and they will be so identical that everyone looks like the other.
What a world that would be! In cloning; due to DNA replication, fighting crime through forensic tests will seriously be compromised as innocent people may be convicted for crimes they never committed. Undue manipulation of human genes during cloning may engender a genetic disorder that may escape the attention of scientists at the early stages, only to manifest at later stages.Perhaps, there would be a suggestion to exterminate such a gene in order to have better ones. The implication of this would be to kill off an entire segment of the society.
This of course will be contrary to the functionalist perspective that looks at society as a whole unit made up of interrelated parts that work together. In most cases, the fundamental issue at stake in both freezing of embryos and cloning is the dignity of the human person. When men and women are produced in the laboratory, on the long run, they are no better than other technological products of a laboratory.In terms of frozen embryos, If we accept the logic that human life develops from embryos, then a larger question stares us in the face: when people are able to freeze and trade embryos, is it not a form of human trafficking? Are also the spare embryos human leftovers? It is currently estimated that there are over 100,000 frozen embryos in the United States labs which given a chance become human beings. ( O-Molly) Of course not all of them are transferred to the woman’s wombs; only the healthiest are used and others frozen, discarded, destroyed or used in experimentation which is always lethal.That is the most incipient stage of human development (O-Molly). This brings the realization that for a society that values human life, the destruction of these embryos which are potential human beings is a contradiction to the societal values.
Another issue in this advancement in reproductive medicine is assisted human conception or assisted reproductive technology which opens new and unexpected opportunities in motherhood. Even though in the past, it was an unthinkable phenomenon, routine in-vitro fertilization (IVF) is accepted virtually worldwide (Edwards).Postmenopausal pregnancy (PMP) challenges society’s conventional belief about childbearing. Oocyst/ovum donation, hormone replacement therapy and IVF are now common place. One may ask what age is fertility treatment or IVF ethical? Headline news about women having babies way past their menopause is no longer strange.
Women in their sixties and seventies becoming first time mothers. With advanced age, most of these postmenopausal mothers do not have the capacity for parenting, thus bringing babies with little or no maternal influence.It is important to note that older people have a longer personal history and thus, their time perspective differs from that of the younger people. Thus older parents will approach parenting from a different perspective, possibly creating differences between their child and children of younger parents (Landau). Taking care of a new born is a 24hour business. One wonders if these mothers have the stamina to be able to nurture their young.
With the expected health problems associated with old age, older parents lacks stamina and are less likely to live to see their children reach adulthood.According to Dr Ruth Landau a social worker of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, on her work in “The Promise of Post-Menopausal pregnancy “, she explained that due to double generation gap, postmenopausal mothers forget what it means to be young and may become a source of embarrassment to their children because of their physical appearance. Furthermore, it is a known fact that older mothers are more likely to give birth to children with more medical problems than younger mothers.Down syndrome is a condition associated more with elderly mothers. Research has also shown that kids brought up by their mothers are more co-operative and affectionate than those brought up by others (Henslin). It then means that maternal influence is very crucial in the life of a child. Of course there are many ways of maternal absence apart from death by advanced age, however, reduction in the statistics of children born without maternal care will be markedly reduced and there will be a good balance of normalcy in the society.
In conclusion, medical science is obviously the science of dealing with the maintenance of health and the prevention and treatment of disease. When science and technology open doors that should not be opened, a pandora’s box spews up evils that menace humanity (O-Molly). Too much technology can be a blessing as well as a curse. Should human reproductive cloning become a reality, who can one clone: a mother? who then becomes your child, or a husband who turns out to be your son? Maybe then, humans will have new names on the list of brothers, cousins, nieces, step or half siblings.For a society that frowns at incest; with increased unknown ooccyst/ovum and sperm donation, who knows who is getting married albeit unknowingly to who? These are a few questions that should plague human mind before sampling with PMP. It is a fact that these days women have more reproductive choices, but caution should be applied in its usage.
Adopting a child in the absence of biological capability of having one should be a loving solution rather than spending so much money on cloning or IVF. .